We see many new patients who come to us because they are having symptoms of low thyroid, which is called hypothyroidism, but they have been to other medical providers who have told them that there is nothing wrong with them because lab tests are “normal.” We realize it can be very frustrating to not feel well, yet be told that there’s nothing wrong with you.
While hypothyroidism can occur at any age in both sexes, it is more common in women especially when they reach their perimenopausal or menopausal years. Additionally, other hormones wane as we age such as estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, and your endocrine system all works together. Imbalances or low levels in one area can affect hormone levels in another.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism can include:
- Relentless fatigue, even after getting enough sleep the night before
- Weight gain
- The inability to lose weight when following a clean diet and exercising
- Brain fog
- Low body temperature and feeling cold all the time, especially in the hands and feet
- Muscle and joint aches
- Hair loss
- Loss of outer edges of eyebrows
- Increased anxiety
- Mood swings
- Irregular menstrual cycle
- Fertility problems
- Dry skin
- High cholesterol
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
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Call us at 972-382-5597
The Role of the Thyroid Gland
Your thyroid gland regulates metabolism. It controls the rate that your body converts calories into energy. Every single cell in your entire body is regulated by your thyroid gland. This gland is located at the front of your neck. Some people who have hypothyroidism can develop a goiter, which occurs if your thyroid gland enlarges.
The thyroid gland releases thyroid hormones, referred to as T3 and T4. About 80% of the hormone that is secreted is T4, and the remaining amount is T3. Once these hormones are secreted, they travel through the bloodstream. For the hormone to enter the mitochondria in order to give them they need the energy that they need, the majority of T4 hormone is converted into T3. T3 is often referred to as the “gas pedal” for the cells as it activates the “power plants,” or mitochondria.
If your cells aren’t able to get the energy that they require, then it slows the metabolism down. This can also create problems because your body becomes less able to convert nutrients from the food you eat, which also contributes to symptoms of hypothyroidism.
When your metabolism slows down, your body goes into a type of survival mode, conserving energy for the most important organs. This is one reason why you will gain weight, have difficulty losing weight, or start to lose your hair. Hair growth isn’t necessary for survival!
Problems with “Standard” Diagnosis and Treatment
Standard practice within the medical community is to test your TSH level and possibly your T4. The majority of medical providers do not run a full thyroid lab panel which would show them other problems going on with your thyroid gland that a TSH and T4 lab don’t, thus many patients are either told their labs or normal, or the root cause of their thyroid problem is not diagnosed, nor treated properly.
First, what is commonly considered to be a normal lab range is out of date. This average range was created by a study of just 1000 people, and it is JUST a range. Everyone is different, and even if your levels fall within the range, that doesn’t mean that is right for you.
If a person’s lab results are out of the “normal” range, they still may not feel better. This is because T3 levels are rarely tested and T3 is what gives cells their energy! Many people have problems converting T4 (the inactive form of thyroid hormone) into T3, so if your provider is only testing your TSH level and T4, they will never know if you are having conversion problems.
You may even be prescribed medication such as Synthroid or Levothyroxine which are forms of the T4 hormone. If your body can’t convert T4 into T3, you can take this medication and will have zero effect on how you feel and how your thyroid gland is functioning. You’ll have enough T4 floating around in your blood while you’re on medication that your lab test for T4 WILL be normal, however without a T3 test to show a conversion problem, you will feel anything but normal.
Interested in Learning More?
Call us at 972-382-5597
The MOST COMMON CAUSE of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s which is an autoimmune disease, where your body sees your thyroid gland as a foreign invader and wages an attack on the gland. Hashimoto’s disease can be reversed if treated early, however, the only way to diagnose this problem is to test for thyroid antibodies in your lab panel.
Because so many providers only test the TSH and T4 levels, not only is the underlying cause of your hypothyroidism not being addressed, but your thyroid gland will start to degrade more and more, thus preventing it from producing thyroid hormones at all.
If you have Hashimoto’s disease, it is crucial to treat the immune issues that are causing it. Even if you are taking medication for hypothyroidism, without addressing the root cause of the immune system, your condition will continue to worsen. Additionally, if you have one autoimmune disease, you can more easily develop others which can worsen your overall health and quality of life.
At Wonderfully Made Functional Medicine, we always run a complete thyroid lab panel that includes:
- TSH – thyroid-stimulating hormone
- T3 – free
- T3 – total
- T4 – free
- T4 – total
- Thyroid antibody test to detect Hashimoto’s disease
Because we run this full thyroid panel, Dr. Wood is able to identify exactly what is causing your thyroid issues and treat it appropriately so that you can begin to feel “normal” again and regain your energy levels and metabolism.
Bioidentical Thyroid Replacement Therapy
Dr. Wood will typically prescribe bioidentical thyroid medications which are made up of natural desiccated thyroid. A few examples of these would be Armour Thyroid and NP Thyroid. These medications are complete thyroid medications and include T3 as well as T4. If you have severe issues with converting T4 into T3, a compounded T3 medication can also be prescribed.
Dr. Wood uses a functional medicine approach to health care and is an expert at identifying and treating thyroid conditions. Additionally, she focuses on your whole body and can perform other types of testing to identify hormonal imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, food sensitivities, gut infections, and more.
Contact our New Patient Coordinator
Call us for a consultation to see how we can help. We’ll answer any questions you have, and explain our treatment approach, protocols, fees, and options. Or fill out the contact form below and we will contact you at a time that is convenient for you.
New Patients Call: 972-382-5597